• Thursday, August 29, 2019 3:15 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Friends of the Shiawassee River and the Shiawassee County Health Department wish to thank all event participants and sponsors of this 24th annual event


    August 12, 2019 - OWOSSO, MI – Representatives of the Friends of the Shiawassee River and the Shiawassee County Health Department have declared their July 27th 2019 River Cleanup event to be a rousing success and wish to thank all those who supported the endeavor.

    “Almost 200 volunteers turned out to help remove 15 cubic yards of trash (approximately 90 13-gallon trash bags full) and over 800 tires both from the river together with the tire collection event that was held at the Shiawassee County Road Commission,” said Larry Johnson, SCHD Director.  “It was by far our most successful cleanup event ever.”


    Tony Newman, Shiawassee County Drain Commissioner added, “We’re thrilled with the number of volunteers who gave their time to help preserve and protect our greatest ecological asset, the Shiawassee River.”  Both Newman and Johnson have both worked with this effort for the majority of the 24 years it has been held.  Phil Hathaway, a Friends’ volunteer and past Community Development Director for the City of Owosso, who has also been responsible for the development/upkeep of several canoe/kayak launches on the river, was also a key figure in the success of this year’s event.

    Volunteer cleanup crews were sent to multiple locations on the river between Geeck Road Park and Henderson Park, picking up trash from over 10 miles of the river.

    Teresa Sherman, who organized the cleanup in Vernon (where a canoe/kayak launch and associated lockers were recently installed), participated in her third cleanup this year. 

    “After three years, we’re still getting a great turnout at Vernon for this event,” said Sherman.  “We truly appreciate everyone who braved the high waters and helped to make our section of the river visibly cleaner.  We always have a great time!”

    In addition to the many volunteers who banded together as individuals for the event, a number of groups and businesses also joined in.

    Oster Manufacturing and J & S Tire and Service, both in Owosso, generously paid their employees for the day to participate – as well as donated as event sponsors.

    “We have been associated with this event for many years now,” said Steve Gill, owner of J & S.  “It’s an effort we feel privileged to be a part of.  My employees look forward to it every year!  I ask that others in the community join us next year to support the Friends and the SCHD in this and other endeavors to keep our river clean.”

    Other business sponsors included Hankerd’s Sportswear, VMD & Associates, Matador’s Pizza and Takeout, Foster Coffee Co., Mancino’s, Cheff’s Canoe Rental, and Waste Management.  The Friends and SCHD also received a grant in the amount of $2,000 from the Great Lakes Commission to support the event.

    Lorraine Austin, Executive Director of the Friends, added “It truly takes a village to make this event come to fruition every year.  Families, businesses, students, elected officials, and others came together in record numbers – all with one thing in mind.  To clean the river (and have some fun while doing it).  It’s something we can all support.  We are more than thankful to everyone for their hard work.”

    After the cleanup was over, participants gathered at the Don and Metta Mitchell Amphitheater in downtown Owosso to obtain a free t-shirt, grab some lunch (courtesy of Mancino’s), and swap stories.  Some of the more unique items found this year included a TV, bicycle, deer skull, trolling motor, Captain America shield, realtor sign, break up note, and more.  The cleanup t-shirts will most likely be seen all around this summer (and beyond).  When you see someone sporting one, please thank them for their participation as river stewards.

    The 25th (silver anniversary) river cleanup will be held on Saturday, July 25, 2020. 

    For more information, about upcoming Friends’ and SCHD events, visit their websites ( & and/or follow each on Facebook.

  • Friday, August 09, 2019 3:14 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    More sturgeon to be released into Saginaw Bay Watershed during public events
    on Aug. 23

    Local, state, and federal partners invite the public to a Lake sturgeon release celebration on Aug. 23, 2019, in
    the Saginaw Bay Watershed. Releases will reintroduce 125 hatchery-raised sturgeon into each tributary of the
    Saginaw Bay Watershed (Cass, Flint, Shiawassee, and Tittabawassee rivers). Short presentations will be made
    at three of the events by local partners.

    The schedule includes:

    • A release at 10 a.m. on the Tittabawassee River. It will be held at the Bob G. Caldwell Municipal Boat

    Launch in Midland, MI, and will be hosted by the Chippewa Nature Center. For more information,

    contact Dennis Pilaske at

    • The noon Shiawassee River release will take place at Cole Park in Chesaning, MI, and will be hosted by

    the Friends of the Shiawassee River. For more information, contact Lorraine Austin at

    • The noon Cass River release is at the Gunzenhausen Walkway in Frankenmuth, MI, and will be hosted

    by the City of Frankenmuth. For more information, contact Daren Kaschinske at

    • The final release will be held on the Flint River at Mott Park Recreation Area. The release is not open to

    the public due to construction in the area. For more information, contact Rebecca Fedawa at

    Lake sturgeon are a unique Great Lakes species. They can grow up to 7 feet long and can weigh up to 300
    pounds. The slow-maturing fish do not begin reproducing until they are 15-20 years old. Once abundant in
    many Michigan lakes and rivers, lake sturgeon were nearly eradicated due to overfishing and habitat loss,
    particularly the destruction of rocky reefs in rivers that sturgeon and other native fish species use for
    spawning. In recent years, many partnerships and projects are working to restore sturgeon to a self-sustaining
    level in Michigan. This work includes restoring sturgeon habitat, reintroducing sturgeon into their native
    ranges, and raising awareness and appreciation for this unique species.
    The Aug. 23, 2019, sturgeon release events are supported by a variety of partners including Bay County
    Environmental Affairs and Community Development, City of Frankenmuth, Chippewa Nature Center, Flint
    River Watershed Coalition, Frankenmuth Morning Rotary Club, Frankenmuth School District’s Chief Science
    Officers, Friends of the Shiawassee River, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan Sea Grant,
    Michigan State University Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, MSU Extension, Saginaw Bay Watershed
    Initiative Network, Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, Saint Lorenz School, Sturgeon for Tomorrow – Black Lake
    Chapter, The Conservation Fund, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
    Learn more about the lake sturgeon restoration efforts on the Saginaw Bay Sturgeon website

  • Monday, July 15, 2019 3:09 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Further restoration of the Shiawassee River will be achieved as the final remnants of the Shiatown Dam are now being removed. The project has been long in coming (see history), and the Friends of the Shiawassee have worked with several state and local stakeholders to gain sufficient funding, meet regulatory requirements, and achieve safety, environmental, and recreational goals.  By the end of 2019 the Shiawassee River will be free-flowing at the site of Shiatown County Park.  

    The Shiatown Dam is owned by the State of Michigan Land Bank, and they have sought to eliminate liability by removing this dangerous and obsolete dam where several children have drowned. In 2010, the Dam Safety Division of the State of Michigan had ordered steps taken to reduce the danger of dam failure, and in 2012 partial removal of the dam was accomplished. The State of Michigan asked the Friends of the Shiawassee River to assist with removal and restoration of the site.

    The Friends have sought not only to eliminate a hazard in the river, but to take steps to restore the natural aspects of the Shiawassee River, create fish habitat, and expand recreation at Shiatown Park. To accomplish these goals, the Friends worked to secure funding from several state and private sources.  Most notably, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources have provided both dam safety funds and an Aquatic Habitat Restoration Grant. Additional funding was secured from the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network (WIN). Shiawassee County officials have lent technical advice and provided on-the-ground input on project design. 

    Securing these grant awards, meeting funding requirements, and coordinating different grants from different sources were the first challenge of the project. Gaining regulatory approval for the restoration of the River, which will involve work in the riverbed itself and the movement of a considerable amount of dirt, was the second challenge.  The offices of State Representative Ben Glardon, and his successor Ben Frederick, helped move the project forward. All of it required patience and persistence from the volunteers working with and through the Friends. Four different executive directors for the Friends have been involved with the project. None of it could have been possible without the long-term commitment of GEI Consultants who provided engineering expertise.

    Now, with water levels lower, a bid has been awarded for the final removal and restoration work.  The contractor has begun work and will be putting in long days Monday to Saturday and plan to get most of the work done by Labor Day.  Booms to collect sediment, called turbidity curtains, are one of several steps taken to protect water quality. 

    For safety reasons, access to all of the site has been limited. The small boat launch at Shiatown East Park just downstream from the dam is closed. The next downstream public access is the Vernon launch.  Paddlers should either avoid, or take extreme caution, with any paddling trip in the area. Watercraft must exit the river well upstream of the dam. Once the project is complete there will ready access to the launch and no need to portage.  The Shiawassee offers many other excellent paddling alternatives (see our Paddling Resources). 

  • Thursday, May 30, 2019 3:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Kayak Raffle “Launched” by Friends of the Shiawassee River

    May 30, 2019 - CORUNNA, MI. —The Friends of the Shiawassee River (Friends) have launched a fundraising raffle for a 12’6” Venture Kayaks Islay 12 kayak to informally kick off summer season.  The kayak is from The Power of Water in Lansing and is valued at over $1,200.  Funds generated by the raffle will be used to host water quality monitoring stream teams, an annual river cleanup event, paddling events, and other Friends’ efforts.  Winners of the kayak and 2nd/3rd place prizes will be announced at the Friends’ annual wine-tasting event on Wednesday, September 11th at the Owosso Country Club.

    “The raffle is more than just a way for the Friends to raise money,” said Friends’ Kayak Raffle Co-Chair Matt Van Epps.  “We hope to promote the whole idea of paddling the Shiawassee.  It’s a great way to rediscover this river we love so much.”

    Raffle tickets may be purchased from any Friends’ Board member and from the following locations:

    Fifth Third Bank, Owosso

    Friends Office (538 N. Shiawassee St.), Corunna

    Gilbert’s Hardware and Appliance, Owosso

    J & S Tire, Owosso

    Shiawassee Arts Center, Owosso

    Shiawassee Family YMCA, Owosso

    And, along with the kayak raffle, the Friends’ wants to remind everyone that the Shiawassee River was recently approved as only one of eight state-designated water trails in Michigan. To highlight this acknowledgement, they will also be hosting two upcoming paddling events this summer:

    Saturday, June 22nd @ 10 am – Harmon Patridge Park to DeVries Nature Conservancy with a cookout following

    This short paddle is great for beginners or families.  After the paddle, participants will be treated to a fun cookout at DeVries.  Pre-registration is required at

    Saturday, June 29th @ 5:30 pm – Harmon Patridge Park to Henderson Park

    This beautiful stretch of the river is even nicer at twilight.  Both this paddle and the paddle on the 22nd will be led by experienced paddler Joyce Haak.  If you’ve been reluctant to go it alone, these adventures are a great way to enjoy nature and make new Friends!  Pre-registration is required at

    For more information on the Friends’, visit   To remain up-to-date on all of their activities, like them on Facebook at, follow them on Twitter @FOSR_Tweets, email, or call the Friends’ office at (989) 723-9062. 

  • Wednesday, January 30, 2019 11:55 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Friends of the Shiawassee River has received a $14,400 grant from the Consumers Energy Foundation supporting their Stream Team volunteer water monitoring program.

    “Consumers Energy is committed to ensuring Michigan has world-class natural resources, especially the preservation and restoration of flowing waters in our home state,” said Carolyn Bloodworth, secretary/treasurer of the Consumers Energy Foundation. “As a tributary to the Saginaw River and Saginaw Bay, we look forward to seeing the positive impact this contribution to the Friends of the Shiawassee River will have on the water quality of all three freshwater resources.”

    The grant will support the expansion and development of the Stream Team program from Holly to St. Charles. Currently, through Stream Team efforts, the river is monitored twice annually at 10 sites along the approximately 100-mile stretch. Teams of trained leaders and interested volunteers collect, identify, and count a variety of benthic macroinvertebrates (“bugs”). Based on the number and type of macroinvertebrates collected at a testing site, a water quality rating is assigned to that stretch of the river – using standards set by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Clean Water Corps (MiCorps) program.

    If you are interested in participating in this program please contact Sarah Baker at


  • Friday, January 25, 2019 11:53 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The meeting was held on Tuesday, January 22nd at the Wrought Iron Grill.  The event focused on our 2018 highlights, special award winners, grants, a featured speaker, business/individual sponsors, and Friends’ board members.

    “The Annual Meeting allows us to recognize the efforts of our organization, those who comprise it, and businesses and individuals whose efforts help us carry out our mission,” said Nick Tereck, Friends’ Board President. “We are fortunate to have so many champions.  It is important to gather together in celebration.”

    The special awards were given to the following:

    CARE AWARD – Keith and Diane Johnson

    SHARE AWARD – Ludington Electric

    ENJOY AWARD – Amy Kirkland


    Because of the annual meeting’s date/time conflict with the Owosso City Council’s meeting, Amy Kirkland, who also serves as Owosso’s City Clerk, was presented with her award at the City Council meeting.

    The featured speaker for the evening was Dr. Patrick Doran, Associate State Director & Director of Conservation for the Nature Conservancy in Michigan, who spoke about how the Shiawassee River connects to the Great Lakes.

    “We are all rooted in place. However, our places -- like the Shiawassee -- are also part of regional and global systems, like the Great Lakes,” said Doran.  “If we can maintain our connection to place while also seeing our potential contribution to the larger world, we can vastly magnify the impact of our actions.”

    Tom Cook, Friends’ Past President who also serves as a Trustee with the Nature Conservancy in Michigan, continued, “We were pleased to hear from a renowned scientist that our efforts on the Shiawassee can help make Saginaw Bay and Lake Huron healthier.  We all live downstream, and need to be good stewards for the people and wildlife that live downstream from us.”

    Other acknowledgements that occurred at the meeting included the following list of 2018 business sponsors including Alderman’s, Inc., CLH Insurance, Downtown Owosso Farmers Market, GreenStone Farm Credit Services, Hankerd Sportswear, J & S Tire, Ludington Electric, Mancino’s Pizza, Matador Pizza, Maurer Heating and Cooling, Oster Manufacturing, The Schluckebier/Hood Wealth Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisors, Shiawassee County Health Department, Vogl, Meder, & Dorcey, PLLC, Waste Management, Wrought Iron Grill, Young Buick GMC, and Young Chevrolet.  A list of individual stream team site sponsors were also acknowledged, including Barb Brownlee, Gary Burk, Tom Cook & Anna Owens, Dean & Carolyn Ebert, Betsy Hull, Frank Livingston, Mike Selleck, Tom Teal & Jeannine Hopfensperger, Nick Tereck & Mike Kramer, Jim & Jillian Woodworth, and the Wrought Iron Grill.

    The Friends’ Executive Director, Lorraine Austin, also gave special mention to the Friends’ 2018 board of directors including Gary Burk, Carson Colbry, Tom Cook (Past President), Mike Goergen, Betsy Hull, Joanne Kenyon (Treasurer), Frank Livingston, Karen Marumoto, Tony Newman, Lance Omer, Linda Robertson (Vice President), Nick Tereck (President), Matt Van Epps (Secretary), and Kristina Yaklin.  Certificates of Appreciation were given to Kenyon, Newman, and Yaklin as outgoing board members.

    New board members, Jake Adams, Jeff Deason, and Erika Tyrell, as well as board renewals, were presented to the membership for approval. Their terms will run until 2022. 

  • Thursday, December 27, 2018 3:06 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The State of Michigan has just designated the first ever State Water Trails, and we are pleased to announce that the Shiawassee River Water Trail is among the inaugural eight. This success builds on several years of efforts by Friends of the Shiawassee River, the Keepers of the Shiawassee, the Headwater Trails, and several local governments and associations along the Shiawassee River from Holly to Chesaning. For more information click the link below.

  • Thursday, December 20, 2018 3:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Corunna, MI – The Friends of the Shiawassee River, a nonprofit organization dedicated to help Care for, Share, and Enjoy the Shiawassee River through activities and events that support the health, public awareness, and enjoyment of the river, is pleased to announce the selection of Lorraine Austin as its new executive director. The Friends selected Lorraine after she served as the Interim Executive Director since September.

    “We’re exceptionally pleased that Lorraine has taken on this leadership role,” said Nick Tereck, President of the Friends’ Board. “Her broad knowledge of science and education, coupled with years of experience working with many nonprofit organizations, both locally and elsewhere, make her well positioned to lead us going forward. Her passion and commitment to our cause coupled with the fact that she is well acquainted with our area and its residents, will enable her to plan more effectively for the future, collaborate with other organizations, and introduce innovative approaches to expand our programs.”

    Austin was born and raised in Owosso and started her relationship with the Friends many years ago, first as a member, then as a Board member, and then as the organization’s Vice President.  Before becoming Executive Director, acting as Interim Executive Director, she helped orchestrate the Friends’ move to their office in Corunna, the recent Giving Tuesday/Raise Up Shiawassee effort (in which she served as co-chair for the Shiawassee County effort), and the recent Shiawassee Water Trail State Water Trail designation.

    With over 30 years of experience working with nonprofits, she has worked as the Curator of Education and Public Relations at the Mesker Park Zoo in Evansville, Indiana and the Staten Island Zoo in Staten Island, New York.  After moving back home to Michigan, she served as the Executive Director of EarthShare of Michigan, Education Marketing Coordinator at the Air Zoo in Kalamazoo, and with the Grand Traverse Stewardship Initiative in coordination with the Grand Traverse Conservation District.  Most recently, she has volunteered with the Downtown Owosso Farmers Market, Community Cats of Owosso, DeVries Nature Conservancy, Shiawassee Arts Council, and other local efforts.

    Lorraine holds a BS in Wildlife Management from Purdue University and an MA in Education from the University of Michigan – Flint.

    For more information about the Friends’ organization, visit their website at, become a member of their Facebook family, or stop by their new office at 538 N. Shiawassee Street in Corunna.

  • Wednesday, November 28, 2018 11:50 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Thanks for helping us reach our #GivingTuesday goal!

    Our goal was $1,800 – to support six school stream team water monitoring efforts up and down the Shiawassee for 2019.  Not only did we raise $1,820, but the Cook Family Foundation has contributed another $1,000 – to make our grand total $2,820!



    Friends was just one of 17 participating nonprofit organizations that were a part of this endeavor to #raiseUPshiawassee and we wanted to share the results with you:

    • Almost $72,000 raised among all of the participating organizations
    • Over 200 new donors
    • Approximately 80 new volunteers who expressed interest in volunteering among the organizations
    • A wide variety of other benefits to the organizations, including:
      • 5 class registrations
      • 3 new members
      • 40 bags of food donations
      • 3 garbage bags full of gently used stuffed animals for children
      • 7 game/book donations
      • 2 pet adoptions and additional foster animal adoptions
      • Lots of pet food and cleaning supplies

    That just goes to show that we are stronger together!

  • Friday, October 19, 2018 11:47 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Our New office space is located at

    538 N. Shiawassee St. Corunna, Mi

    On October 17, 2018 Chamber Ambassadors, Friends' Board Members and City of Corunna officials gathered for a ribbon cutting. Holding the big scissors is Nick Tereck, president of the board and to his left is interim executive director, Lorraine Austin. The office is hosting an open house this Sunday, October 21st. For more information here:

Contact Us:

Phone: (989) 723-9062

Mailing Address:

Friends of the Shiawassee River
PO Box 402
Owosso, MI  48867

Office Address:

Friends of the Shiawassee River
538 N Shiawassee Street
Corunna, MI  48817

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